Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Central message, Main Idea and Student-Inspired Bunny Story Maps

It was one of those days. Not one of those "everything goes wrong" days. Just the opposite! It was a bunny-themed day today and we. loved. every. minute. During writing, I threw out my plans. Gasp! I have a good excuse though. It was a day full of student-led, student-inspired learning! It all started when I read this cute book by Jan Brett called The Easter Egg. One of my students said, "I think Jan Brett is telling us that it's more important to take care of others than to win a contest." Love it! I totally wasn't planning on doing a lesson about central message, but it just plopped in my lap so I couldn't walk away from that. I introduced the term and I opened it up to other ideas. The kids all had such great ideas. As they gave their idea, we worked together to find the evidence from the text that gave them their idea about the central message. 

One of my students stated the main idea as her idea for the central message. These two concepts are so tricky and are so intertwined sometimes. So, I decided to help make this a little more clear with an anchor chart. At this point, I decided to draw a big bunny of my own. Together, we made a story map with the characters and setting in the ears, the problem and solution in the arms, the events in the tummy and the central message and main idea in the legs. They had all the answers for me! They had so much fun filling out our bunny together. :)

Okay, as if that wasn't enough excitement, that's not all. One of students shouted out, "Can we make our own?" Now that is a shout out that doesn't drive me nuts. I mean really, raising her hand would've ruined that exciting moment. Ha! The other kids got so excited, especially because I played it up a bit. "Oh I don't know, we have so much to do today. Well, maybe we can try it out. Let's see, how can we do this..." They were so excited. We busted out some bunnies. They copied the words characters, setting, problem, solution, central message and main idea on their bunnies. Then we brainstormed ideas for our own stories. They were so ready to get started. They each made their own story maps for their stories. Most needed guidance figuring out the main idea and central message, but I really feel it helped them understand it more. We'll be writing our stories tomorrow using these bunny story maps. I just love these!

The Easter bunny didn't have enough eggs. 

The Easter bunny's candy machine breaks! 

Some bunnies wanted to have an Easter egg hunt but didn't have any eggs!
(This students wanted to write the events on the tummy.)

A little girl doesn't get Easter eggs during the egg hunt.

An bunny doesn't have  enough money to buy an egg for the big contest.

Another cute idea that I don't have a picture of is: A lion is stealing all of the Easter candy from other jungle animals. 

Our afternoon was filled with our bunny shopping fun! I'll post about that later. :) 


  1. That sounds like a fantastic day! It so much fun when the kids lead the way. I love using your literacy packs:) I think we completed every page in the Easter pack. I'm looking forward to beginning the Fairy Tale one next. I mentioned your wonderful materials in a post titled 'Improving Fluency." Thanks for all your great products.
    First Grade Carousel

  2. Sarah... you have to stop by my blog today... I posted a vid of my son doing your egg hunt! It was the cutest thing!!! You are awesome! :)
    Tori's Teacher Tips

  3. Hoping that it was an indeed bunny-themed day and you loved every minute. You'are so creative planning out different activities for your little students. Follow if you or someone you know needs professional help with writing projects!